Linda Lane Bloise
Hattie Bell Beans
Hattie Bell Beans came into our lives and into our Kitchens in the late1960’s by way of a Lane – Felker customer whose last name I don’t think I ever knew. Lane – Felker was not only a fashion store, but it had a kitchen with a table and chairs; and though the kitchen was tiny, it was a gathering place for many years, of customers who became good friends; and as all women friends in those days did, they shared recipes. There are many recipes in my mother’s recipe files that have a recurring pattern; the recipe became named for the person who shared the recipe. So within her files, there are recipes such as Anita’s Strawberry Cake, Barbara’s Fig Preserves, Hortense’s Sheath Cake, and Juanita’s Chocolate Freezer Ice Cream, etc. Some recipes were tried a few times, and went by the wayside, but many others became the most cherished of our family’s culinary repertoire: that is what happened with Hattie Bell Beans. It wasn’t in Mother’s recipe collection when I was still living at home, but only after I married and had a home of my own.
When my children were youngsters, we would come to Haskell and visit the family and on the way here, we made a game of: What would Gran have cooked for us to eat when we arrived? Many times in the earliest years, the usual was a big ham and a pot of beans, coleslaw, and cornbread. Or ribs that Daddy cooked in his outside oven. Whatever it was, we always knew that it would be wonderful! But sometime in the late 60’s or early 70’s the menu changed in favor of something called Hattie Bell Beans; a concoction that none of us could get enough of, served of course with its best accompaniment; Mother’s iron skillet cornbread. Hattie Bells are the best of all worlds; better than just beans and better than just chili. This recipe is a favorite that has kept its enormous popularity with our family and many of our guests throughout all these years. I have even found that Hattie Bells make fabulous Taco Salad as well as being served in bowl topped with grated cheese.
Now our third generation is involved; John and Lisa make it for all their boys’ homecomings now that they are scattered all over the US, either out of college working, or in school; and they always have a big pot of them waiting for us when we come to visit. In our family, they just say Welcome Home somehow. Hattie Bells have now become an old family recipe and a tradition that we all enjoy and cherish; and now I want to share this marvelous recipe with you on a week when it will be appropriately warming as a cold front is due here, even as I write. Serve it with a pan of cornbread for an unbeatable cold weather meal that is easy to prepare and that reheats deliciously!
Many in Haskell, the Big Country and even in Houston have enjoyed Hattie Bell Beans for years, and as of yesterday, I was told of the continuing enjoyment of Hattie Bell Beans and their popularity now in distant places. Distant enough that the Rotel Tomatoes are unavailable and must be sent by mail to those who want to make this concoction! Our family’s recipe that we’ve enjoyed for so many years is continuing its historical culinary journey and is now becoming internationally enjoyed... from Texas all the way to Australia and now on to England.
When we were at the home of our children, Lisa and John Jones, during the Thanksgiving Holiday, we met and shared Thanksgiving with their friends the Luxtons who are both from Australia and who were going there to visit, within the next few days, before moving to London England where Ric's job is taking them. They are a delightful couple, it was our pleasure to have met them, and we still keep in touch via Facebook. Lisa recently told me that we all now share more than just friendship; we share our love for Hattie Bell Beans. She went on to relate to me how this came about, saying, “From our red earth in West Texas to their red earth, in Perth, Western Australia, our Hattie Belle Bean recipe has become the Luxton family's ‘Christmas Chili.’”
“Much like, our Grandmother, Frances Lane, having it ready for us to dish up on our arrival at her house, when we visited, we had it for our boys, as we always do, when they arrived for the Thanksgiving Holiday. Our friends, the Luxtons joined us for the boys' arrival and happened to try our Hattie Belles as the flavors were melding together in the pot. Jude decided overnight that she would need to serve our recipe to her family back in Australia for their Christmas.”
“Since Christmas is the height of summer there, at the end of December, serving our 'chili' is like our 4th of July! Shorts and t's and sunshine and picnics; with our Hattie Belle's front and center. Jude and Ric said their boys and her brother in Law have asked for the recipe since."
So now our West Texas Hattie Bell Beans have gone international, with John and Lisa Jones as the shipping agents for the needed ingredients that are not available to them in either Australia or England. Their first cans (tins) of Rotel tomatoes were given to them, gift wrapped by the Jones’, for Christmas so they would have supplies in Australia.
By the way, I can't close without saying, that son John vehemently objected to their naming it "Christmas Chili”; being a purist, he can’t imagine anyone calling anything with beans in it Chili...but that subject is for another day!
Hattie Bell Beans
Now an Internationally Known Recipe
Ingredients: 2 pounds, ground beef; 1-8oz jar of Taco Sauce; 1- 4 oz. can green chilies (Hatch) or more; 2 large onions; #303 (large can) of tomato sauce and tomato bits or an equivalent amount of canned tomatoes mixed with tomato sauce; 2 large green bell peppers (or 1 green and one yellow and or red); 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder; ½ teaspoon cumin; 2- 2lb. cans of Ranch Style Beans; salt and black pepper and red pepper to taste. If you prefer more HEAT, reduce the amount of tomato sauce and tomato bits in the recipe and substitute the same amount of canned Rotel Tomatoes. I have also used from time to time for more liquid in the pot, spicy Bloody Mary Mix.
Method: Dice the onion and the bell peppers and in a large pan with a small amount of vegetable oil sauté them for a few minutes on medium to medium high heat, stirring occasionally so they don’t stick or become brown; add the ground beef and continue to sauté until the meat is done but not too browned. To this mixture add the tomatoes and or tomato sauce, chopped green chilies, taco sauce, chili powder, and cumin, salt and black pepper to taste. Cook on low heat covered for 30 to 45 minutes even longer is ok and then add beans and cook for another 30 minutes. Taste after the beans are added and adjust seasonings to taste; you may choose to add more heat, by way of jalapeño, or more chilies, or a little red pepper; you might also add a can of Rotel tomatoes, if your taste leans in that direction and you wish to bump it up a notch or two. This recipe can easily be adjusted to suit yours and your family’s taste. I usually place bowls of extra condiments, heat and seasonings on the table and let those, who wish to set themselves on fire, do it: That removes me from all responsibility. I do hope you enjoy this wonderful concoction!
Here are just a few of the accompaniments, garnishes and variations that you might consider, depending on the occasion or your preference at the time: a dab of sour cream, a bit of grated cheese, a bit of cilantro, a bit of chopped avocado, chopped chives, crumbled Fritos or any corn chips... these all taste wonderful with Hattie Bells and have great eye appeal.
Variations for you to consider other than just serving Hattie Bells in a bowl are serve them on a bed of rice, on top of a baked potato; you can also make the best taco salad you've ever tasted by topping fresh greens and other fresh vegetables with Hattie Bells, on a cornbread pancake or with a piece of skillet cornbread.
Don't hesitate to add or subtract an ingredient or two... I have from time to time added a few diced carrots, or celery, whole kernel corn etc. with good results.... If you use plain pinto beans, add 2 Tbs. catsup and 1 Tbs. mustard and extra chili powder; always consider your family's preferences... you can always add or subtract some of the heat too. I've had many who, don't care for chili, tell me they love Hattie Bell Beans.....
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By Cheyenne Bereuter
25 years ago this week, Kim Bearden started her own photography business right here in Stamford. Little did she know that on that day, October 16, 1989, she would eventually be the most respected, professional photographer in the area.
Kim had worked for a company photographing church directories for 3 years prior to venturing out on her own. Mostly she says she got tired of the travel. “I felt ready to try my hand at running a photography studio,” said Kim. “The community of Stamford and the surrounding areas were so supportive!”
The photography services she offers include maternity, sports, families, weddings, newborns, seniors, etc. Bearden Photography was located at 102 S. Swenson for 11 years, and she has been at her current location at 125 W. McHarg for the last 14 years.
She loves sharing special milestones with lifelong customers - Beginning with youth sports, high school sports, senior year, wedding, and then the birth of a child. “They feel like family,” Kim said. Of course, photographing a state football championship team two years in a row was also an honor, especially when the coaches allowed her to take the team and create a unique photograph!
With 25 years photographing families in Stamford, Kim has had the honor of capturing memories of multiple generations of families. “The first family I photographed (in my living room) with my first medium format camera was Jana & Danny Duggan and their two kids, just because they are good friends,” remembers Kim. “I’ve taken many photographs of their daughter Joanie beginning at age 6, and now her daughter will be six next month!”
There have been many changes and upgrades throughout the years to keep up with the ever changing times… for example, when she started her photography business, it was not digital, like it is today. She shot on film from 1989-2005, and then began the digital transition in 2006.
Another way Kim stays on the cutting edge of this business is attending the Professional Photographers Association National Convention. “I’m newly inspired every year after attending the Professional Photographers Association National Convention,” says Kim. “So many talented photographers teaching other photographers. I’ve attended the last 8 years.”
Kelsie Salazar now works with Kim, and she says she couldn’t survive without her. “She’s brought a creative edge to the products we offer!”
What has been your most memorable photo shoot? “Too many to list! I guess shooting my kids senior portraits. We had a blast! And then recently, my son & daughter-in-laws engagement, bridal, and wedding photos.”
What is your favorite picture of? “That changes almost daily! Today it’s an image of my son and his new wife. Last week it was of a local newborn posed oh so sweet. The week before, a bridal portrait of my daughter-in-law. And before that, a really edgy image of the volleyball team from Aspermont taken in a field!”
The Bearden Photography name is well known in this area for high quality, professional photographs of a variety of life events for the last 25 years. To see what Kim can do for you, check out her website at www.beardenphoto.com or book an appointment today by calling 325-773-2397.